When I was in college in the early 90’s I took a “Correspondence Course,” in order to complete my whole program in 4 years. It was my first exposure to Distance Learning, although at the time I didn’t even realize that is what it was.
Early 90’s – I received a book, a list of readings and correlated assignments, and a time-line for possible final test dates. I completed the assignments in 6 months and took the assessment, a written test they sent my department chair who proctored it in her office, and submitted for my final grade. I received two assignments back with some written feedback before my final.
In 2010 – I taught a Distance Learning / E-Learning course that existed entirely on-line through Moodle. However, with limited understanding of technological possibility it more closely resembled a face-to-face course in the digital space with taped “lectures,” written assignments and due dates (submitted through email), videos (housed in Youtube), and a final reflection on their portfolio. Although my course was more creative than lecture, papers, and a final it still mimicked the face-to-face course and didn’t reflect any pedagogy now possible through technology.
At this conference, one of the things I learned was the continued struggle of Professors/Teachers with designing courses that take advantage of the possibilities through technology. Some of this is due to limited tools available for relevant 21st century learning, some is due to limited understanding of the possibilities of these tools for design, but a larger part is due to limited understanding of good pedagogy.
While Distance Learner/ E-Learning is the future, I believe with my whole heart until these three things are addressed, educators will be forced to struggle.
- Limited tools available for relevant, 21st century learning
- Limited understanding of how to use these tools for design
- Limited understanding of pedagogy for either face-to-face or the digital setting
We at Trailhead are actually addressing all three of these through our Blueprint Learning Model, our MMO-LRPGs, and our educator/parent Professional Development Plan.
Trailhead is poised to jump-start 21st century E-Learning and we are excited to partner with organizations like USDLA http://www.usdla.org, IFWE, and others to support the future of Learning.